Athletic Training Education for 2021

Athletic Trainer Lindsay Hagler

Do you wonder about the credentials of the person rehabbing your young athlete’s strained hamstring? Or, maybe you’re curious about what regulatory oversight there is for the medical professional on the sports field with your high school athlete? What are the athletic training education requirements for 2021, and how does one become an athletic trainer, anyway?


Education for athletic trainers strives to create highly skilled and knowledgeable allied healthcare professionals. To achieve this, athletic training education requires at least a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited program. This accreditation ensures that all athletic trainers meet the same minimum competencies required for their job. As an example, athletic trainers receive training in injury evaluation and diagnosis, acute emergency care, therapeutic injury rehabilitation, and injury prevention, among many other topics. Most athletic trainers have exceeded the minimum education requirements. In fact, nearly 70% of all athletic trainers have their master’s degree, as well.

The Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) oversees the core skills required for athletic training proficiency. Furthermore, CAATE performs regular audits of accredited programs. This guarantees program compliance. Along with learning the required skills, athletic training students must pass a national exam through the Board of Certification (BOC).


As of 2015, the National Athletic Trainers Association, CAATE, and the BOC, jointly agreed that a master’s degree is the new minimum level of education for entry-level athletic trainers. By 2022, all CAATE accredited programs must transition from an entry-level bachelor’s degree program to an entry-level master’s degree program.  Of course, an exception is in place for the 30% of athletic trainers currently practicing without a master’s level education. In fact, they will be allowed to continue practicing provided they stay current with their certification.


approved CE provider for the athletic trainerIn addition to the national exam, the BOC also ensures that athletic trainers complete at least 50 credit hours of continuing education every two years. This requirement guarantees that athletic trainers remain current in their ability to recognize, treat, and prevent injuries.


Individual states also have requirements of athletic trainers. For example, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) licenses all athletic trainers in the state of Oregon. Licensure ensures that anyone in the state of Oregon performing the duties of an athletic trainer has passed all the required education and certification standards. In fact, they must sign an affidavit verifying that they have kept up with continuing education requirements. The OHA may audit athletic trainers and request that they provide records of compliance with BOC requirements.

As you can see, athletic trainers are subject to many layers of education and oversight. Specifically, they must complete a rigorous course load, pass a national exam, obtain state licensure, provide proof of compliance with agency requirements, and complete 50 credit hours of continuing education every two years. As a result, you get a professional, specialized, and competent allied healthcare professional caring for your young athlete when you need them most.

Please visit if you would like to learn more about athletic trainer educational requirements, CAATE, and the BOC.

Original article written by Michael Estes, MS, ATC, athletic trainer for The Center Foundation and Crook County High School in Prineville, OR, and updated for 2021 by Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS, athletic trainer supervisor. Learn more about Michael and Stuart HERE.

Train Your Brain 2021

Train Your BrainOur grade school outreach program, Train Your Brain, brings brain safety education to third grade classrooms across Central Oregon. Each year, we visit every third grade classroom in Central Oregon, delivering a fun, educational presentation on the importance of preventing brain injuries. We focus on helmet safety, care and fitting of a multi-sport helmet. In addtion, the presentation caps off with our famous melon drop demonstration to highlight the importance of wearing a helmet. At the conclusion of the presentation, we give out and properly fit multi-sport helmets for every kid that needs one. In 2019, we visited more than 30 elementary schools across Central Oregon and gave out over 800 free helmets. We have proudly presented this program for the past 10 years.

Sadly, in 2020 we canceled our tour due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in 10 years, our third graders did not learn the importance of keeping their brains safe. Which is why, in 2021, we will resume Train Your Brain. By transitioning to a virtual program, we can ensure that kids receive the message about how to prevent brain injuries. Just as important, we make sure that every kid that needs a helmet gets a helmet.

New to Train Your Brain for 2021

This spring, we will include both third and fourth graders in our tour, enabling us to reach the kids that missed out last year. Our new video presentation works in both virtual and live classrooms. Of course, the video will our include famous melon drop demonstration and detailed instructions on how to fit a helmet properly. Teachers will help us deliver helmets to kids that need them.

While we will miss meeting and interacting with the kids in person, we are committed to adapting to the terms of the pandemic and doing our part to #keepkidssafeinsports.

This program is only possible because of the generous support from our program sponsors. Thank you to First Interstate Bank, Summit Medical Group, and Bend Broadband.

Train Your Brain 2021 Sponsors

Written by: Stuart Schmidt, MS, ATC, CSCS athletic trainer supervisor for The Center Foundation in Bend, OR. Learn more about Stuart HERE.

The Center Foundation provides sports medicine services to young athletes at no charge to the students or their families. We do this by placing certified athletic trainers in local high schools to keep kids safe. Learn more about our work HERE.